Lee Enterprise Newspaper Revs Sink

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The second quarter of 2012 brought another round of revenue declines for the newspaper business, with the latest discouraging results coming from Lee Enterprises, which owns almost 50 daily newspapers, including the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
 
Total revenues decreased 4.3% to $179 million in the second quarter of 2012 from last year's quarter, due mostly to a 5.8% drop in advertising revenue over the same period, to $125 million.

Print advertising revenue dropped 7.9%, more than offsetting growth in digital ad revenues, which increased 10% to $17.3 million.
 
Lee’s retail advertising fell 3.8%, classifieds were down 6.9%, and national advertising plunged 17.2%. Within the classified category, employment was up 1.4%, but automotive slipped 4.8% and real estate tumbled 16.1%.
 
Digital continues to be a bright spot for Lee, whose Web sites, mobile and tablet products attracted a total 22.2 million unique visitors in June of this year, up 3.1% from the same month in 2011. Mobile page views soared 156% in June, to 45.5 million.

However, like other newspaper publishers Lee’s digital business remains a fairly small part of the total, with digital advertising making up just 9.6% of the company’s total revenue.
 
Like many other media companies, Lee has also suffered the effects of an uncertain economic environment, according to CEO Mary Junck, who stated: “In nearly all our markets, the slow economic recovery seems to start and stall unpredictably, producing erratic overall revenue results from month to month.”

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